The strain space multiple mechanism model idealizes the behavior of granular materials based on a multitude of virtual simple shear mechanisms oriented in arbitrary directions. Within this modeling framework, the virtual simple shear stress is defined as a quantity that depends on the contact distribution function as well as the normal and tangential components of inter-particle contact forces, which evolve independently during the loading process. In other terms, the virtual simple shear stress is an intermediate quantity in the upscaling process from the microscopic level (characterized by the contact distribution and inter-particle contact forces). The stress space fabric (i.e. the orientation distribution of the virtual simple shear stress) produces macroscopic stress through the tensorial average. Thus, the stress space fabric characterizes the fundamental and higher modes of anisotropy induced in granular materials. Comparing an induced fabric associated with the biaxial shear of plane granular assemblies obtained via a simulation using Discrete Element Method to the strain space multiple mechanism model suggests that the strain space multiple mechanism model has the capability to capture the essential features in the evolution of an induced fabric in granular materials. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.